Hiking the Via Alpina: Meiringen to Grindelwald


Hike from Meiringen over Grosse Scheidegg to Grindelwald

Meiringen (598m) – Zwirgi (975m) – Rosenlaui (1328m) – Grosse Scheidegg (1962m) – Hotel Wetterhorn (1230m) – Grindelwald (1034m)

Read about our hike on the Via Alpina from Meiringen to Grindelwald. It’s 23km long and takes you 1500 meters uphill and 1050 meters downhill. This is a very long hike and it took us about 7:45 hours to complete. On this hike, you will cross Grosse Scheidegg, one of Via Alpina’s 14 mountain passes.



+1500m – 1500m




Reichenbachfall waterfall in Meiringen, Switzerland
Reichenbachfall Meiringen, Switzerland

Map of the hike and elevation chart

Check out this free interactive map of the hike on the Via Alpina from Meiringen to Grindelwald. Find out more about the elevation by dragging the cursor in the field under the map and move it around. If you want to look at a more detailed map or download a GPX file of this hike to your phone, click on the blue icons at the top of this article (Overview).

Our experience hiking the Via Alpina from Meiringen to Grindelwald

We started our Via Alpina experience with this hike from Meiringen over Grosse Scheidegg to Grindelwald in June 2020. On this hike we learned what Sherlock Holmes has in common with Meiringen; we marveled at the Reichenbach waterfalls and rode in one of the oldest funiculars in Switzerland; we visited the Unesco World Heritage Site Rosenlaui Glacier and got an amazing view of mount Eiger and the Mönch.

Start this hike in Meiringen and get to Reichenbachfall with a cable car (Shortcut!)

Here is a piece of advice you will thank us for: skip the first 300 meters uphill from Meiringen and take the Reichenbachfall funicular instead. First, you will save energy for the long day ahead. Secondly, you’ll get to ride one of the oldest cable cars in Switzerland. The Reichenbachfall funicular was built in 1899 and train lovers will have a blast riding the replica of a wooden wagon that looks exactly like the original from back then.

The Reichenbach funicular in Meiringen, Switzerland
The Reichenbach funicular in Meiringen, Switzerland

Thirdly, you will get the best view of the Reichenbach waterfalls. Sherlock Holmes fans watch out! From the mountain station of the funicular, you will see the exact spot where Sherlock Holmes challenged his archenemy, Moriarty. Both fell into the depth of the 120-meter waterfall and died. At least according to the myth.

From the top of the waterfall, you can look back to Meiringen – the village where the delicious “meringue” was invented. We didn’t stop in Zwirgi. The trail leads us through green forests and very soon we saw the first snowy mountain peak staring down on us: the Engelhörner.

Matthias and Solène at Rosenlaui Gletscher Switzerland.
Matthias and Solène at Rosenlaui Gletscher, Switzerland

Wild waters at Rosenlaui Glacier Gorge

At times we had to leave the trail and share the asphalt road with cyclists and cars. After an hour we reached a plain and walked along a river to Hotel Rosenlaui. This Belle Epoque hotel was built in 1771. A 5 minutes walk from the hotel you can check out the Rosenlaui Glacier Gorge (Rosenlaui Gletscher). It’s the most impressive collection of wild water rides and natural pools you can’t swim in!

Solène standing on Grosse Scheidegg Switzerland. In the background the Bernese Alps Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
Solène standing on Grosse Scheidegg mountain pass in Switzerland

The next leg leads us further along the river and a field with many cows into a forest. After crossing the river the trail took us uphill and at some point, we left the forest behind. 15 minutes later we reached an alp where we caught up with the river again. The plain surrounded by high mountains invited us to take a break before we attacked the last uphill leg to Grosse Scheidegg. It’s a pretty intense hike and we had the impression that it went on and on and on forever.

Grosse Scheidegg: Mönch and Eiger in sight

The Grosse Scheidegg marks the highest point of this hike. Don’t miss the terrace of the restaurant Berghaus Grosse Scheidegg. It offers an amazing view of the Mönch and the Eiger! We took a break there, enjoyed the view, and spoiled ourselves with a well-deserved ice-cream. But there was no time to sit around. We had to make it to Grindelwald which was still 2 hours and 1000 meters downhill to go!

On the way to Rosenlaui Switzerland
On the way to Rosenlaui, Switzerland

From Grosse Scheidegg to Grindelwald

Several times we crossed an asphalt road on which a bus brings people from Grindelwald to Grosse Scheidegg.The bus is also the “escape route” in case your feet hurt. We did not even think about it and hiked down to Hotel Wetterhorn where we had a cold alcoholic-free beer. From there it was another hour to Grindelwald. We closed our eyes and somehow reached the village of Grindelwald after 11 hours on the trail. Luckily, there was a heated pool in our hotel that healed our feet and bones before we headed for dinner.

Profile picture of Solène Stucker, co-founder of Hike&Dine
Solène’s Dine Pairing

Hike&Dine: Dine at Hotel Bellevue des Alpes on Kleine Scheidegg

“When in Grindelwald spoil yourself and stay a night at Hotel Bellevue des Alpes on Kleine Scheidegg. Enjoy the views to the Eiger and the Jungfrau from the hotel’s terrace, play a round of billiards while the sun sets, and indulge in a delicious 4-course meal.” 

Practical Information

Practical information for this hike

Get to Meiringen by train from anywhere in Switzerland. Look up trains directly on the site of the Swiss National Railway (SBB) by typing in the starting point and Meiringen as the destination.

This is a very long hike. Bring enough water and snacks.

On the site of SwitzerlandMobility, you can download an altitude profile and find a map of the hike.

If you want to pack lightly there are several options on the way. You can eat at Hotel Rosenlaui, Berghotel Grosse Scheidegg and Hotel Wetterhorn close to Grindelwald.

Take the Reichenbach funicular to skip the first 300 altitude meters of the day and see the Reichenbachfall from the funicular’s mountain station.

Shortcut: The bus (Postauto) takes you from Meiringen uphill to Schwarzwaldalp. Check out the timetable here.

If you are tired from hiking there is also a bus from Grosse Scheidegg to Grindelwald.

Hotel Spinne in Grindelwald offers a heated pool. Enjoy the mountain view while you heal your feet in the hot water.

Hike&Dine Tip

Tip for this hike: Visit Rosenlaui Glacier Gorge

If you have extra time visit the Rosenlaui Glacier Gorge. The Rosenlaui Glacier Gorge is part of the Unesco Jungrau-Aletsch world heritage. During the visit, you walk along loud streams and waterfalls. Observe the stones that were shaped by the water over thousands of years. The visit will take you a good 30-45 minutes so count that in. You have to buy an entry ticket (adult 8 CHF; kids 4CHF). There is a discount for groups.

More Pictures of the hike from Meiringen to Grindewald

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